How to make the most of your Home Care Package funds
Why you should use all your Home Care Package funds and NDIS budget each year
Since the beginning of 2020 when COVID-19 hit us, we’ve seen a dip in the hours of home care being delivered each week. During lockdowns and when cases were climbing, this was expected. Afterall, we were all being extra cautious and trying to do our best to make sure we were protecting the most vulnerable.
However, almost three years later and we’re still seeing some Members holding back on using their full budget. Whether you’re on the NDIS or have a Home Care Package, it’s important that effectively use the funds the government allocates to you. Here we explain why and how you can use the rest of your unspent funds.
Why do you have unspent funds?
If you’re not regularly spending all of your home care funds the government has allocated to you, you’re not alone. For Home Care Packages, a survey estimates that Australians have around $1.7bn of unspent funds in their Home Care Package budget. According to the latest NDIS report, the national average utilisation rate is 75%.
There are many reasons Australians may not be using all of their allocated funding. Some reasons may include:
- They want to hold funding back because they want to use their funds in the future for something that may or may not eventuate.
- They might have received a higher Home Care Package level but haven’t adjusted their supports.
- They may not be sure how they can use their home care funds.
- There might be a lack of availability of certain providers in their area.
What happens to unspent Home Care Package funds?
The good news for home care recipients is that if you don’t use your unspent funds, you don’t lose them. They will be carried over from month to month and can be transferred to a new provider if you decide to move. However, you can’t give them to someone else if you pass away or go into a nursing home. Only you can use your funding.
Your Home Care Package is to pay for your current aged care needs. If one of your help plan goals is for some respite or equipment, then it's useful to save up some funds. However, you should use the funding you receive for your current care needs.
What happens to unspent NDIS funds?
For NDIS funds, it works a little differently. When you’re accepted onto the NDIS you receive a plan with goals, support and budget, and you need to achieve them. If you don’t use all the funding you received in your plan, the funds won’t roll over into the next plan. It will return to the scheme. In your plan review, you will need to discuss why you didn’t use all the funds and if there is a consistent pattern, then your budget might be reduced in the future.
What can Home Care Package funds be used for?
Fortunately, it’s easy to see how much budget you have. Whether you have a Home Care Package or a NDIS plan, you will receive a help plan from Five Good Friends. Your help plan is recorded in Lookout, and will track your schedule, goals and health outcomes. You will also be able to see how much you’ve spent from your budget.
If you’ve got unspent funds, you may add more services as long as it fits in with your goals. For example, if you’re having difficulty shopping or preparing food, you may get help with meal preparation from a Five Good Friend Helper. Or we could help you with getting out and about if one of your goals is social and community access.
Depending on your needs, some other services you could consider include:
- Domestic help such as cleaning, washing or other chores around the home.
- Personal care such as showering, dressing, and other hygiene tasks.
- Home handyman help, including improved lighting or other minor modifications
- Light gardening including lawn mowing and weeding
If you’re not sure what help you need or what would be available in your help plan, get in touch. Our friendly staff are always here to chat through your options and provide the right solution for you.
Learn more: The positive effect of in-home care